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378                          LIFE OF
sary, which was as constant  in  the field  as at the
The other adventure was less serious.     The painter
Isabey came to Vienna to commemorate the remark-
able assembly by a painting.     On the one half of the
picture the  crowned heads were assembled ; on the
other the diplomatic chiefs were  sitting round  the
table at which the fate of Europe was decided.   Each
figure was a portrait;   the artist chose the moment
when Metternich introduces the Duke of Wellington,
But one circumstance nearly frustrated the artist's in-
tention.    All the European representatives of import-
ance were to figure on this picture., and among them
Humboldt could not be wanting1.    But now Isabey
was informed that here he would meet with opposi-
tion, as it was well-known how averse this statesman
was to let himself be painted^    He had refused it to
the Princess Louise Hadziwil3 sister of Prince Ferdi-
nand of Prussia.    Isabey therefore went to Humboldt
with very little hope.    His embarrassment,  real or
feigned, increased the humour,, now become prover-
bial, of the Prussian statesman, who, fixing his promi-
nent large blue eyes upon him, replied thus :   " Look
at me, and confess that nature has endowed me with
a too ugly face than that you could disapprove of my
resolution never to spend a sow for my portrait.    Say
yourself, would not nature laugh at my expense, if she
perceived siich, egregious folly in me ?   "No ; she shall
see tittat I can appreciate the ill-favour she has be-
stowed upon me/*    The   painter.,   surprised   at   this
declaration,  now gazed in astonishment at the irre-
gular  features of the  minister;   he,  however, soon
collected himself, and replied that it was not his in-
tention to take any reward from his excellency for
ihe agreeable task which he wished to undertake ; he
only came "to a&k from him. the favour to sit for Mm
&, few hours.     " If that is all/' replied  Humboldt*
^m&i the greatest pleasure I will sit as often as you
, do not make any ceremonies.    I can only not
* wp my principle, not t go to the toast expense